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Russian vigil for Patriotic War

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Russian vigil for Patriotic War


Across Russia, people have been marking the outbreak of war 70 years ago, when the Soviet Union was invaded by Hitler’s Germany in 1941.

For other countries, World War II had begun 22 months earlier, when both Germany and Russia invaded Poland.

When their pact was broken, to the Russian leadership’s general surprise, some 26 million Soviet citizens, civilian and military, would be killed.

Here, it became known as the Great Patriotic War.

Most of Nazi Germany’s total war effort was expended on the Eastern Front.

This was decisive in the destruction of the Third Reich, and the following Cold War partitions and geopolitics.

East-West ideological and other differences meant that the role of Soviet Russia went largely underacknowledged.

But the sacrifices, during and after — of all those affected, the survivors and the generations who came later — are seared into the memories of the modern Federation.

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